March 27, 2024
Philippine Government Cracks Down on Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges, Binance Spared
Policy & Regulation

Philippine Government Cracks Down on Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges, Binance Spared

The Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has initiated stringent measures against unlicensed cryptocurrency companies offering investment products in the country, leading to the blocking of their websites.

Local media outlet Bitpinas reported on March 7 that the websites of crypto firms MiTrade and OctaFX have become inaccessible through one of the nation’s largest internet service providers.

The action follows an order issued by the NTC on February 21, mandating internet service providers to block applications and websites associated with MiTrade for non-compliance with regulations enforced by the SEC of the Philippines.

The NTC’s move comes in response to a request from the SEC to take action against websites of crypto platforms operating without proper licensing in the country. In a press release, SEC Chairperson and CEO Emilio Aquino emphasized that such actions by the NTC are crucial in combating investment scams and protecting investors in the country. Aquino stated, “The SEC and NTC will continue to work closely together to take similar actions on other platforms facilitating illegal investment-taking activities and other predatory financial schemes.”

While the NTC has begun blocking unlicensed crypto trading platforms, reports indicate that the Binance exchange remains accessible in the country. However, SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lee previously indicated that a ban on Binance in the Philippines should have taken effect three months after its issuance on November 29, potentially on February 29. Yet, a statement from the SEC did not specify when the ban on Binance would be enforced.

Speaking on the potential consequences of a Binance ban, an SEC spokesperson informed local media on February 28 that the agency is evaluating all possible ramifications, including implications for Filipino customer funds. The spokesperson reiterated the SEC’s collaboration with other government agencies to devise procedures for restraining the operations of unregistered entities in the Philippines.

The SEC’s stance against Binance dates back to November 28 when the regulatory body issued a warning to investors, stating that the trading platform is not authorized to offer securities in the country. The announcement stressed the necessity for Binance to apply for registration and provide comprehensive information about the securities it offers to comply with Philippine regulations.

As the regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies evolves in the Philippines, the concerted efforts of government agencies like the SEC and NTC aim to safeguard investors from potential risks associated with unlicensed crypto platforms while ensuring compliance with existing financial regulations.


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